A federal judge in Florida who was appointed by former President Barack Obama called adults who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 “selfish and unpatriotic.”
In an order issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola canceled an upcoming trial due to COVID-19 and slammed adults who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It is the Court’s belief that the vast majority of the unvaccinated adults are uninformed and irrational, or—less charitably—selfish and unpatriotic. The Court believes that these individuals have given a distorted meaning to the COVID-19 vaccine, rather than recognize the vaccine for what it is—an effective and safe means of minimizing transmission and illness,” the judge wrote.
Judge Scola also proposed only vaccinated individuals should be allowed on the jury, but the defense counsel objected, “claiming they did not want to exclude unvaccinated jurors from the trial.”
Scola continued his scathing rebuke of unvaccinated adults, arguing everyone has “an obligation to consider the safety and well-being of our community” in the same way that the court and legal profession “have an obligation to protect those who enter the courthouse.”
“Whether uninformed and irrational or selfish and unpatriotic, no citizen is excused from considering their obligation to the health and well-being of their community. Else, the health, welfare, and safety of society would be subordinated to a substantial minority,” Scola said.
“In a way, the jury is a microcosm of organized society. It ‘lies at the very heart of the jury system’ that ‘those eligible for jury service are to be found in every stratum of society.’ Thiel v. S. Pac. Co., 328 U.S. 217, 220 (1946). Old and young, disabled and immunocompromised, all are called to jury service,” the judge continued. “The Court will not abdicate its duty and obligation to ensure the protection of these witnesses and jurors by exposing them to risks, particularly when those risks are heightened by the Omicron variant. While the Court does not believe that excluding unvaccinated jurors in the middle of a pandemic is legally impermissible, it nonetheless does not want to create an appellate issue.”
According to Reuters, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on which Scola serves is one of the only federal courts in America that has implemented a COVID-19 vaccine mandate by requiring employees to either take the jab or be tested for coronavirus twice a week.
Members of the public are also forced to wear masks when inside the courthouse.